CELTIC assistant boss John Kennedy admitted he will be “astounded” if Ryan Christie is banned by the SFA.
The Hoops midfielder faces being suspended after being served with a notice of complaint for allegedly grabbing at the groin area of Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos during his side’s 2-1 defeat at Parkhead before the turn of the year.
Christie will learn his fate today and Neil Lennon’s No.2 insisted the Scotland international playmaker has no case to answer.
RUN RYAN RUN…Christie races away from Aberdeen defender Andy Considine.
Kennedy, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “I find it very surprising. I would be astounded if he gets found guilty of it and they follow through with the charge.
“If that is the case, then there will be numerous cases throughout the season where somebody grabs or accidentally touches somebody.
“I have seen these situations what they are trying to accuse him of before. If you are static in the box at a corner-kick and are marking somebody and you do a fly one.
“But to be involved in the game and somebody goes by you, to accuse him of trying to grab him by the genitals is crazy. Ryan is not that type of player, for a start.
“Ryan has genuinely gone in and he goes by him. What naturally happens is you try to grab something. It just so happens that it was what it was.
“You can see with the speed of the game your first reaction is sometimes to grab the first thing that goes by you. That is what happened.
“If you are static, you are standing beside somebody marking them and you make a play for that area then that is pretty obvious.
“But, again, you have to take the person into consideration here and Ryan is not that type of player at all.
CHRISTIE CRACKER…Ryan hammers in the opener in the 4-1 win over Ross County in Dingwall last month.
“If you put it into the context of the game and what is happening at that time, somebody has gone past him. When that happens you try to grab hold of a shirt of whatever it might be, make some kind of contact to knock him off balance and just so happened to catch him there.
“At the time, nothing was made of it. Morelos didn’t make anything of it to Ryan or anybody else about him. That speaks volumes in itself.
“I will be very, very, surprised, astonished actually, if anything comes of it.”
Christie underwent emergency surgery on his groin only hours after the setback against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox men, but Kennedy reckoned he will not be out for too long.
The coach added: “He had a little setback, but he obviously had that dealt with quickly, so, hopefully, it won’t keep him out for too long.
“He will miss the bulk of the week here in Dubai, but, hopefully, once we get back, he won’t miss too many games. It will be touch and go for the first game, but it will be weeks rather than months. Hopefully, he will be okay.”
Celtic kick-start the second half of their campaign with a Scottish Cup-tie against Partick Thistle at Firhill on Saturday night, January 18.
They face a trio to play Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in their return to Premiership action the following midweek.